Friday, December 30, 2005

WordStar connections

To my absolute delight, I got an email this week from Seymour Rubenstein. He was the founder of software maker MicroPro International, and co-creator (with Robert Barnaby) of WordStar, the great old wordprocessing program (originally for the CP/M operating system, and later for MS-DOS).

To this day, I still use WordStar for DOS 7.0, Revision D (the last version, released 13 years ago this month); I find it much more efficient than Word. Seymour had run across this essay of mine about WordStar that's been up on my website for years, and he liked it! Woohoo!

If that wasn't enough for WordStar connections, I also just got an email from a librarian who used to work in tech support for MicroPro, asking me if I might be interested in doing a reading at his library in Indiana ...

^KS forever!



At December 31, 2005 4:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eventually Microsoft is going to drop support for 16bit applications in Windows. What will you do then?

Have you considered writing Word macros that would simulate your favourite WordStar features?

At December 31, 2005 8:41 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Actually, I produced a Word template many years ago that allows one to use WordStar keystrokes in Word, and I use that on the (very rare) occasions I have cause to boot up Word; there's also a commercial product, the WordStar Add-In for Word, by Mike Petrie, that goes even farther in WordStar emulation.

But I prefer using actual WordStar for its speed, for its approach to marking blocks, for its stability, for its clean screen display, and for its ability to run fabulously on lots of older and oddball hardware. For instance, I wrote parts of my current novel on an old Toshiba T1000 DOS notebook (which has a wonderful passive LCD screen -- the more light falling on it, the brighter its display is; perfect for writing on my penthouse balcony on bright, sunny days) and on my trusty Prolinear Mininote 386 MS-DOS palmtop (which will run for days on AA batteries).

I've never let Microsoft set my computing agenda in the past; I'm hardly going to start now. There will always be Linux, or other alternatives, offering DOS emulation. Sneaky Microsoft thought they'd eliminated DOS from Windows CE, for instance, but I run WordStar on my NEC MobilePro 780 palmtop using PocketDOS. If it happens that I do need Microsoft's future Windows for some applications, I'll buy a computer just for that; I have over a dozen computers in my home right now, every one of which runs WordStar. :)


Post a Comment

<< Home